Who says that working in kitchen is always synonymous with dirt? Even, if it is true, it used to be, long time ago. Now, it’s absolutely different. The profession as a cook, chef or whatever it is called can bring in luck. This profession is increasingly promising in terms of economic aspect. When being in good luck, supported by competent skill and a pretty or handsome face, it can bring one to become a celebrity! It is inseparable from the role of mass media as well as advancement of technology that quickly disseminates the culinary potential of a region. In addition, the habit started by middle-class community frequently dining out also becomes one of the reasons. Similar thing also happens to lunch. Employees, pupils and students are also fond of ‘hunting’ new menus for their lunch. So, there is a positive correlation to the interest of people to become a chef as a more attractive profession. Creativity, innovation and idealism can be totally expressed through this profession. Many people say that a chef is the same as a painter but they utilize a different medium and materials.
Alit Mandala, a Senior Sous Chef at Banyan Tree Ungasan, as one of the participants in the Fonterra Pastry Challenge and Cooking Competition at the Bali Tourism Institute (STP) Nusa Dua Bali held some time ago said that becoming a chef was really fun. In this profession, he would be able to express the ideas just as a painter did. If a painter could work through paint and canvas, a chef was able to work in the food. “When the food we’ve prepared is rated good, it’s very encouraging,” he said.
It was what made the profession more attractive, aside from appealing in terms of economic point of view. Many people wanted to be a famous chef because they could make a creative work according to their expression. Chef also had an authority as a painter did that could be internationally respected because it had a unique masterpiece. A cook would feel satisfied when its food was assessed good and known to many people. “When having been clever, expertly preparing food and having a wealth of experience, a cook will definitely be honored,” he said.
Every chef had different ways of cooking. Chef that had worked in many places would gain a lot of working experiences and would get higher position. Automatically, the income would also continue to soar. “The profession of chef is in demand after booming in TV shows, magazines and newspapers. Its advantages are exposed in the media and the menu creations are really interesting,” he explained.
It was justified by Henry Alexy Bloem, an Executive Chef and President of the Indonesian Chef Association (ICA). He said the interests of people to be a chef was so high. It was kindled by TV media, newspapers and magazines highlighting the life of celebrity chef and culinary field, so that common people became interested in the profession. “Many young people are choosing the majors in cooking with the hope of becoming a chef,” he said. On that account, he added that schools having the department of food and beverage were always thronged by students both at home and overseas. They hoped to become a reliable chef and could work decently with a better status. “There are also those who want to become a chef in order to set up a café, an ordinary shop or restaurant that will be serving quality food,” he explained.
In terms of income, a professional chef was valued very high, so that the profession was increasingly in demand. Restaurateurs or hoteliers would pay much if the culinary creativity yielded was excellent. “The salary of a chef is now quite expensive, especially when working at hotel or a new restaurant. The salary would be definitely competitive. A chef will dare to negotiate the salary in order to be working at a particular premise,” he explained. Overseas, Balinese chef was very much appreciated. People dared to pay them higher even triple. Unlike in Indonesia, they were not appreciated so that many Indonesian chefs built their career overseas.
The high interests of people to become a chef were also felt by the Acting Director of STP Nusa Dua, Wisnu Bawa Tarunajaya. He considered the profession was highly prospective, so that it drew the public interests. As evidence, the number of students interested in studying the culinary management continued to increase each year. “It happened because the government is continuously promoting the Indonesian cuisines by highlighting 30 culinary treasures,” he said.
Each year, the number of students enrolling continued to rise. Nevertheless, to get a good quality of students, his party limited the registrants where each class only received 20 students. Meanwhile, the STP had the Department of Food and Beverage for Diploma 3 consisting of two classes in the morning and afternoon with the same study program. They were prepared to be able to manage kitchen for overseas needs, so that many graduates had been absorbed in cruise ship and on mainland such as in Europe, America and Australia. To sum up, the keyword is that this profession is very promising. It does not matter whether the graduates will work as a cook at hotels, cruise ships, restaurants or small shops. (BTN/bud)